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European RoyalsNorway

‘Alt for Norge’: the motto that unites three kings

Photo: Oskar Aanmoen/Royal Central

Alt for Norge is the motto that has united the three modern kings of Norway and one that serves as a rallying cry for the nation.

When Prince Carl of Denmark was nominated as a potential monarch for the newly independent Norway, before he took the throne, he insisted on a plebiscite so that the people could decide if they even wanted a monarchy, let alone a Danish prince as monarch. The population overwhelmingly voted in support of a monarchy, and Prince Carl ascended to the Norwegian throne as King Haakon VII on 18 November 1905.

The newly-crowned king gave a speech once the results were announced, saying that, “I wanted to be sure that it was a people and not a party that wanted me to be king, as my task above all should be to unite, not divide.

“I want to dedicate my life to the good of Norway, and it is my wife’s and my own sincere wish that the people who have chosen us will unite to cooperate and strive towards this great goal, and with full confidence I can then take as my language of choice: Alt for Norge.”

Alt for Norge became the royal motto, loosely translated to ‘We give our all for Norway.’

According to the Royal House’s website, “King Haakon’s immersion in all things Norwegian, his personal qualities and manner, and the great respect he showed for democratic principles all served to bolster the standing of the monarchy in Norway. This position came to be further strengthened during WWII.”

King Haakon was a popular monarch who led the nation throughout the Second World War as an anchor for all Norwegians. Though he and the Royal Family were forced to flee the country in fear of their lives, he “became the foremost symbol of the Norwegian people’s will to fight for a free and independent Norway, and his radio broadcasts from London served as a source of inspiration for young and old alike,” according to the Royal House. The Royal Family returned to Norway in 1945, as popular as ever.

When King Haakon passed away in 1957, he was succeeded by his son, Olav, who also adopted the motto as his own. Like his father, Olav was a popular monarch and heavily invested himself in the lives of his people. He became known as the Folkekongen, the People’s King.

The Royal House notes that, “Like his father, King Olav was dedicated to upholding the Constitution and fulfilling his role as constitutional monarch. Although at times his views could be detected in the many questions he posed in the Council of State, the King unfailingly respected democratically reached decisions, and he never showed a preference for any political party.”

They continue: “Throughout his 33-year reign, King Olav was cherished and respected as a monarch. He knew exactly how to maintain the appropriate closeness to and distance from his subjects. He had a great ability to talk to people, and it was this and his genuine warmth that led him to become known as the ‘People’s King.’”

Upon the death of this beloved king in 1991, his son, Harald ascended to the throne, adopting ‘Alt for Norge’ as his motto.

Harald, the first Norwegian-born king since the country became independent of Sweden, is the third in a line of monarchs who have given their all for their country. He will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his rule on January 17 2021.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.